Monday, October 29, 2012

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

Incredibly slow, yet remarkably fast, we have now officially celebrated one year in Belgrade.  The best way I can describe it is the way people describe having kids; the days are long but the years are short.  We are now halfway done with our adventure and I can hardly believe it.  There is so much still that I haven't done (starting with becoming fluent in Serbian), places I need to visit, restaurants to try, people to meet, and questions to get answered.  I thought it'd be fun to make a quick list of the things I miss most about America and a list of my favorite things in Serbia.  Obviously, family and friends aside.

Top 5 things I miss most about America:

1. Mexican food/Chipotle/Asian food/good sushi - even though I have been to a couple of decent places, nothing compares to the diversity and authenticity of ethnic foods in the States.

2. Unlimited re-fills and ice- no explanation needed

3. Metro - the bus system in Belgrade is great, but when it's cold, raining or just plain miserable outside, it's nice to be underground instead of at a bus stop.

4.  Happy Hour - go out straight after work, get home by 11, go to sleep.  No need to stay up till  midnight to  go out.

5. The fast pace - all my life, growing up in PR, people said I was too wound up, that I should "chill-out", take it easy, etc.  Then I moved to DC and I fit right in.  Now, I am back in the land of no rushing, no sense of urgency.  Except on the buses-I find that Serbs in general are very laid- back and take their time to do things ; but when it comes to getting off the bus, all the built up impatience comes out.  Riders literally get a microsecond to jump out or you'll be stuck inside.  Not to mention that the stops are WAY farther apart than they are in the US.  If you miss your stop, you might end up walking a good 2-3 blocks.

Top 5 things I will miss about Belgrade:

1. Amazing produce - Serbia has hands down the best eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and salads I have ever had in my life.  It's crazy how well-dressed cabbage can fill the spot.

2. Taxis -  they are everywhere, very reliable and you can text your location to have one come get you!

3.  Convenience - how could it be?? Belgrade more convenient than DC??  In my particular case, in many ways yes.  We live a block from an awesome bakery, Mini Maxi (711 type convenience store), and a taxi stand.  No more weekends wasted at Costco or at Target.  In Belgrade, we have a ton of storage space, so I go 'shopping' in the guest room, where I have all the toiletries I will need until we go.

4.  Parks - there are so many nice parks and green spaces that are easily accessible, clean and full of ice cream vendors.  Part of me wishes we would have come here later, when we had kids, because the playgrounds look great!

5.  Location, location, location - in the US, I would visit a new country once a year at the max.  Here, it's amazing, ALL flights are international flights.  There are more than 15 countries that you can get to in about 2 hours and for less than $ 300 for a round trip.  Unbeatable.

No shopping update - If you have been a follower for most of the year, you might remember that I promised not to buy any new clothes the whole time we were here.  Well, I am sad to report that I caved in and did get a couple of things, most of them online and when I went back to the US in July.  I have bought 6 dresses, a skirt, and 2 shirts.  I will definitely try harder this year.

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